April 24, 2024

Pella-based brewers to develop Newton taproom in Legacy Plaza

‘Brews’ release

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Something is brewing in Legacy Plaza.

Gezellig Brewing Company, a microbrewery and taproom, will be the newest addition to the vacant commercial spaces in the former Maytag corporate headquarters buildings now owned by the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Newton Campus.

In a news release Tuesday, Joe Pugel, chair of the DMACC Board of Directors, said, “We’re excited to see Gezellig Brewing Company locate in Legacy Plaza and look forward to the synergy this business brings to the future development of this historic area of Newton. We have been looking for opportunities to bring companies to the Plaza that could offer learning partnerships with us. We have already had discussions with the owners about offering brewing courses and possibly even apprenticeship opportunities together in the future.”

Owners and operators Betsy Duffy and Mindi VandenBosch will split the establishment’s identity into two locations: a family-friendly taproom inside the basement of the Innovation Center in Building 1 and a small-scale brewery inside Building 17, which once served as the former Madhouse brewing production facility in 2009.

Armed with an expertise of craft beer and business know-how from her years of experience working alongside her husband, Marty, at their award-winning craft brew bar The Cellar Peanut Pub, Duffy said the next logical step was to open a brewery.

In order to avoid any conflict of interest, Duffy said she dismissed herself from The Cellar Peanut Pub business — which will also open its Newton location in Legacy Plaza in the fall — to pursue her brewery investment. Meanwhile, her spouse will manage the bar business.

A journey a year-and-a-half in the making, Duffy and VandenBosch had been seeking desperately for a spot in Pella to call home but were ultimately unable to convince the community and city council of their brewery ambitions. Unwilling to throw in the towel, the two remained resilient in their search for a suitable space.

After purchasing brewing equipment from the Ankeny-based taproom New American Brewing Co., which will close its doors Sept. 1, Duffy said she needed a place to store the newly acquired 10-barrel brewhouse and 20-barrel fermentation tank.

Originally, Duffy contacted Kim Didier, executive director of DMACC Business Resources and project manager of Legacy Plaza, to ask if there was any storage place to temporarily stockpile the equipment on campus.

“Then I said, ‘By the way, do you actually have space for a brewery?’” Duffy recalled Monday. “So that Sunday (Didier) let me into a couple of spaces. Mindi and I had a meeting and said, yeah, the incentives that will be offered here will be really great. I got ahold of the City (of Newton) on Monday morning, and in two days, they had everything approved for us.”

The name of the brewery — pronounced with an ‘h’ sound instead of a ‘g’ — is a Dutch adjective, Duffy added, loosely translating to warm and cozy or “the feeling you get when you see loved ones after a long period of time.” Still ingrained in its Pella roots, Duffy said the Gezellig Brewing taproom will live up to its namesake and be a place for communities of all ages to mingle.

In addition to a rotating menu of craft brews on tap for the 21-and-up crowd, Duffy said Gezellig Brewing will include a line of craft sodas — or craft pops for you Midwesterners — for kids, including all natural root beer, sarsaparilla and grade soda, among other choices.

Mike Street, who previously worked as a full-time “pub tender” at The Cellar Peanut Pub in Pella, will be the designated brewmaster. The passionate craft beer aficionado and home brewer said he expects the taproom to maintain a selection of five to eight alternating recipes based on season and popularity.

“There’s a lot of freedom to experiment, and that’s what I think the craft beer industry is about,” Street said. “It’s about experimenting and coming up with different things or finding something you like and trying to do it a little bit different.”

Once the fermentation equipment is transferred from New American Brewing Co. to Gezellig Brewing, Duffy said she would like to begin making beer as soon as possible. Once its brewer’s license is verified, which could take up to six months, the Newton craft beer microbrewery will be able to sell its creations to the public.

The announcement of the upcoming Gezellig Brewing Company in the vacant Legacy Plaza buildings rides on the momentum of five new leases that had been signed since July, which included the Newton location of The Cellar Peanut Pub, Re-Wire Yoga Studio, Aerocare, the Center for Industrial Research and Service and hiring facilities for Kwik Star/Kwik Trip.

“We’re just glad and very happy to welcome (Gezellig Brewing Company) to the campus. It just continues to build on a lot of great energy. It helps us become that much closer to being a destination location for not only Newton residents but the state of Iowa and people traveling across the country,” Didier said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com